63 W 14th St (5th & 6th Ave)
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 242-2462
Site: Visit the restaurant site
2nd Cuisine: Indian
Area: Union Square
Nanking, a popular Asian spot in the Theater District, has opened a to-go location near Union Square. Nanking Express is actually quite elegant for fast food with its wooden tables and leather seats. The first thing you'll notice is a punch of spices as you near the kitchen. The restaurant, which is serving Chinese, Thai and Indian food, does not hold back with its generous use of chilies. If spice is not your thing, you may want to ask to tone it down.
I stopped in on the spur of the moment for an early dinner, ordering Tom Kha, a soup made of coconut milk, mushrooms and Asian ginger. It's sweet, spicy and addictive. You can get it with either shrimp or chicken. Kai Chi or "Drums of Heaven" is Nanking's signature chicken wing dish. Fried up in a wok, the wings are served lollipop style smothered fresh herbs, chunks of garlic and chili sauce. They are excellent.
The menu is actually quite extensive. From the Indian side; samosas and kebabs; Chicken, beef or lamb vindaloo are offered, along with a lengthy list of vegetarian options and tandoori breads. From the Chinese and Thai side come dishes like traditional pad Thai, Szechuan shrimp, Manchurian chicken and stir-fried cauliflower with a hot chili garlic sauce. Desserts range from Gulab Jamun, golden cottage cheese balls dipped in a saffron-infused syrup to Rasmalai, cheese patties soaked in thick milk infused with cardamom and saffron.
Most entrees are in the $10-$15 dollars. You can eat in, and have food delivered to your table, or get it on the go. Nanking Express is open for lunch and dinner.
Review By: Thomas Rafael